We packed each and every day our our Tahoe trip with activities, and our last day was no different. We needed to be at the airport by 3:30 p.m, but that didn’t stop us from checking out one more ski resort before packing up our gear. We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, stopped for coffee and bagels at Alpen Sierra Coffee Co. in South Lake Tahoe, and headed about an hour and a half south to Kirkwood Mountain Reosrt to meet our host, Daniel, his awesome wife, Fran, and their off-the-charts-adorable daughter, Stella (who, at 14 months old, already knows how to downhill ski. No joke).
By this point we’d learned that every Tahoe resort has its own distinct character, so we weren’t surprised to find that Kirkwood was different from any of the other resorts we’d been in the past six days. Our first clue? As we pulled into the parking lot, we passed a big group of skiers and snowboarders pulling hot-pink and bright-blue tutus over their ski clothes. Why? We have no idea, but they sure seemed to be having fun—and they hadn’t even hit the slopes yet.
Another thing that sets Kirkwood apart is its new Cross Country and Snowshoe Center. Rather than separate the center from the rest of the action, like so many other places do, Kirkwood placed it right in the heart of the resort. You can park, rent cross-country skis or snowshoes, and be out on the 50+ miles of trails in 15 minutes flat. We decided to cross-country ski, sticking to the super-flat trails (hills + skis + pregnant ladies aren’t exactly the best combo).
After lunch, we had just enough time to check out some of the resort’s lodging, including a few rooms that are literally at the base of the mountain, just steps from one of the main lifts. Not too shabby. We also ducked into the brand new expedition center, where you can sign up for everything from women’s camps to junior clinics to backcountry courses.
Finally, sadly, it was time to go. We hopped in the Jeep to head to the airport, and Daniel set off to return Lindsey’s beloved skis at the nearest Tahoe Dave’s. We’ve never rented skis from any other Tahoe outfitters, but it’s hard to imagine anyone has a better set-up than Tahoe Dave’s. You can reserve your gear online, pick it up the night before at no extra charge, and return it at any of the five locations around Tahoe. Easy peasy.
The only reason we weren’t devastated to leave Lake Tahoe was that we know we’ll be back. We heard so many locals rave about the gorgeous summers that we’re already trying to figure out how to get back to experience them for ourselves. And this September, Northstar is holding a Food & Wine Festival that’s calling our name. At this rate, people are going to start mistaking us for locals!